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Eisenhower and CambodiaDiplomacy, Covert Action, and the Origins of the Second Indochina War$
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William J. Rust

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167428

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167428.001.0001

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“Many Unpleasant and Difficult Things” (1957–1958)

“Many Unpleasant and Difficult Things” (1957–1958)

(p.123) 6 “Many Unpleasant and Difficult Things” (1957–1958)
Eisenhower and Cambodia

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

The appointment of a new US ambassador to Cambodia, Carl W. Strom, in 1956 did not improve US relations with Sihanouk. Alleging that Americans were providing financial support to his political opponents, Sihanouk publicly declared that the United States wanted to overthrow him. This chapter discusses Sihanouk’s virtual obsession with the threat posed by Son Ngoc Thanh, then an exile in Thailand who claimed that Sihanouk was responsible for the growth of communism in Cambodia. In 1957, Thanh formed the Khmer Serei. A successor organization to the noncommunist Khmer Issarak bands, the Khmer Serei comprised armed dissidents who received covert support from Thailand, South Vietnam, and the United States. Thanh, well aware of the military weakness of his rebel band, relied heavily on psychological warfare and propaganda in his largely unsuccessful efforts to erode Cambodian confidence in Sihanouk.

Keywords:   Carl W. Strom, Son Ngoc Thanh, Khmer Serei

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